Saturday, August 21, 2010

One of the biggest & baddest things in Graduate School

Hi guys,

Graduate Assistantships or GAs are the best thing next to slice bread. In fact, they are one of the BIGGEST & BADDEST things about Graduate School! We'll kind of. GAs are academic awards given to grad students who work for the university. The work is usually teaching in your department, which is at the college level, doing research in your department in collaboration with a professor or doing administrative work.

In exchange for your service (which is usually 18-20hrs a week, YES A WEEK!!), tuition is free and you receive a monthly stipend. Assistantships are very competitive and vary from school to school. They offer a great way to gain valuable experience in your field of study. Furthermore, I don't have to take out a loan to pay off the 7% that I owe each semester, because my stipend covers it all.
Five reasons why I love my assistantship:

1.  93% of my costs are erased in exchange for my work which is thousands of dollars especially for an   out-of-state student.

2. I only work 20 hours a week... equivalent to a part-time job and need to have a minimum of 9 credit hrs.

3. I get 10% off my books at the bookstore and we all know how textbooks can be so expensive

4. Currently, I am gaining valuable work experience in leadership and team work as a graduate assistant

5. Parking on campus is reduced from $200 to $30....SWEET!

    Wouldn't you want a GA?

Take care,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ALWAYS stay True to YOURSELF No Matter What!

One of the most important things I learned during orientation as a graduate students was to stay true to myself. This entails not changing who I am to fit in with everything and everyone around me. Now this can happen both on an academic level and at a social level. As a graduate student professors will demand different things saying to you: do this, have you read this, have you thought of this or change this as you conduct research or write a paper. In addition, as a graduate student in a totally different environment, you can find yourself changing aspects of who you are to make friends or fit in with a certain group of people. It is very easy to get distracted in graduate school because of the constant advice that you receive from professors or advisors, but clearly stating what you want to do and how you would like to go about doing it will allow other people to work with you to get that done. The fact of the matter is if you stay true to who you are, the friends will come and the confidence that you have gained from knowing who you are inside and out will draw people to you who may then constitute as friends.

There is no reason to change who you are at graduate school to fit in. Friends and academic success will definitely follow because people will notice the confidence you have in yourself and in your work and will ultimately be drawn to that. Most importantly, the number one reason as to why you are in graduate school is to get a graduate degree. Its not about losing yourself. From my experience, people who change themselves are the ones who aren't confident in who they are or are individuals who do not have a solid circle of friends that they can depend on no matter what. Such people are often unhappy and chronic unhappiness in graduate school will make your time a lot more difficult than it has to be. Always remember to stay true to who you are no matter what!

I believe Shakespeare said it the best in Hamlet:
"This above all: to thine own self be true,/And it must follow, as the night the day,/Thou cans't not be false to any man "(ll.78-80).